We need to better understand how COVID-19 spreads to help us to work out the best ways to stop it. To control COVID-19 we need to find out where people are catching the virus and how it spreads. The aim of this study is to help understand where people are catching COVID-19. This might be at home, at work, at school, or in other public spaces. We will look at how this differs by age group, ethnic group, time period and geographic area. We will also investigate how easily the virus spreads within households.

Our project will mainly use data from two studies on COVID-19. Virus Watch is a large community study which collects regular online surveys from over 40,000 people in England and Wales. The survey follows people over time to see if they have become ill with COVID-19 and what influences this. The Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Infection Survey invites a group of people in the UK to complete regular questionnaires about their recent activities, including their contacts, and asks them to have a regular COVID-19 test. We also plan to use information on any other COVID-19 tests that people in these studies have had (for example, at local testing centres), whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccination, and any death reports.

The impact of  this research is that it will help understand which settings and activities contribute most to community transmission of COVID-19. It will also help to identify the best ways to stop the spread of the virus.

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